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newbie questions about OG cultivation

Posted by jadeite 6/7 (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 7, 13 at 9:32

I'm new to the world of OGs but I'm already starting to be obsessed! We're in the high desert of the Southwest, marginally Z7. We live on an acre, most of which is open space, i.e. native cactus, wildflowers, grass and rocks. Several of the conifers have died in the recent drought. I'd like to do this area over, adding xeric shrubs, trees, grasses and perennials to make it more colorful and less harsh.

Because it's a large space I want to start as much from seed as is reasonable. I'm planning to winter sow a few grasses - I note that several on this forum suggest this which is encouraging.

I'm thinking of having a number of different grasses, from the big sculptural ones like Erianthus Ravennae, Sporobolus Wrightii, Sorghastrum Nutans, mixed with Nassella Tenuissima, Schizachyrium scoparium, fescue, dropseed, Indian ricegrass, bouteloua. Closer to the house I'd like muhly grasses (capillaris, lindheimeri, rigens). Please tell me if these are good or bad choices? What else would you suggest? We want this area to live on rainfall (average 10" per year normally) if possible.

Questions: will seedlings transplant well? Do I need to protect young plants from rabbits and deer (we have lots of both)? In some books, I've read that little bluestem and Indiangrass are favorites of livestock. Does that mean I'll have to fight off deer all year round? We replaced our bluegrass lawn with buffalo grass. This is inside a wall where we have a cultivated garden area. I have to chase rabbits out several times a day. They *love* the buffalo grass, they dig down and eat the roots.

Thanks for your opinions and advice,
Cheryl


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

In general, most OG's have a reputation for being low maintenance, low-water use plants.......but 10" per year is really low water use!! Even doing research on OG's for desert locations, you get comments like "moderate water use", "does well on drip irrigation", "needs well drained soil" (as does any grass!!).

It's a bit hard for me to imagine exactly how little rain 10" is but even in my very mild but summer-dry maritime climate, OG's that don't get routine irrigation through our droughiest periods look stressed. How well seedlings would take would depend on their access to water - typically even very drought tolerant, xeric plants need enough water to get properly established before they are fully 'low water use'.

Have you tried inquiring with your regional Southwestern Gardening forum? Surely someone there would be able to provide more regionally specific info for you.


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

gardengal - several of the grasses I mentioned are native to the Southwest, and we have some of them already around the house. We're in the middle of the rainy season, so all kinds of plants are sprouting including bluestem, sideoats, blue grama, gaillardia, zinnia, asters, and some others I can't identify. The open space looks greener and more lush than I've ever seen it.

I understand that new plants will have to be supplemented through at least one season, but my hope was to taper that off and have the plantings survive mostly on rainfall. Is that unrealistic?

I checked the Southwestern forum and can find just about nothing on this kind of landscaping.

Cheryl


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

Cheryl,
Funny answering this from Canada but .....
I think that you are doing the right thing taking hints from what is growing naturally in your area. We spent a couple of weeks driving thru New Mexico and I was impressed by how well Schizachirium sp. (Little Bluestem) did some of the driest land that we saw. My goodness, it was even growing in the White Sands!
As for the deer & rabbits ..... Plant one or two precious clumps of anything and they will be sure to eat it - plant more than you need and the beasties will leave most of it alone. Not a scientific fact but - one of those Murphy's Rules of Gardeners.

Your list of possible species sounds interesting. Some additional questions you might reseach before getting started:
Will they all be hardy for you? (thinking of the muhly grass here)
Will they cause problems by being too aggressively self-seeding? (eg Nassella tenuissima)
If feasible, I would suggest starting small - plant up a small area with the species that you are considering - those that do well will supply you with all the seed you will need to do the rest of your project!
A.


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

A. - Thanks for the encouragement. I would like to have as many native plants as possible in the open space. Muhly is not one, but it is so gorgeous I have to have it! We may end up putting it into the more traditional garden inside the wall, but if I start off with it not too far from the house, we can water it during dry spells. The OGs I listed are supposed to be hardy to Z7, though you can't always believe what the websites claim.

Nasella is reputed to be invasive even here, but we have an acre of space mostly filled with spiky cactus and thistles. And silverleaf nightshade - never knew what this was until a friendly passerby told us. Yesterday was spent digging it out. I've read it's almost impossible to eradicate, but native grasses help to keep it down.

If I plant clumps of grasses and wildflowers dotted through the area, some will naturalize and some will die off. I don't think it could be a lot worse than what is there now.

Cheryl


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

jadeite, I have grown most of these from seed. If its OK, I will just give you my experience and preferences on each kind.

The Muhly's have all done well here and I love them. The Rigens and Lindheimeri are both HUGE. You really need to keep in mind spacing on these. Rigens is about 5ft wide and tall including the spikey blooms which are fantastic sculptural statements. They do very well in 100+ temps and drought. I also planted Pine Muhly which is almost identical to the Rigens except a smaller version. Each of these has seeded about in my garden but not in an invasive way. I originally planted from seed. The seeds did not germinate real well. From a packet of 200 I ended up with only about 6 that germinated, I sowed them in pots in early fall. The seeds that fall on the ground come up in early spring. I found the Lindheimeri plants I have at Home Depot. High Country Gardens sells some other interesting varieties. Santa Rosa Gardens online has 4" pot sizes that are a good way to start too, I think they carry the Lindheimeri. It took 2 growing seasons for the plants to reach full size but they do grow fast.

I love the Sacaton wrightii. Its one of my favorites. It needs no watering to look great. I started mine from seed I bought from Plants of the SW. They came up easy. It took 3 seasons to reach a big size and even now they are not full size, but its well worth the wait. This is a very dramatic grass. The blooms are gorgeous and they start early, the light really makes them glow. I didn't like Sacaton alkali. Its rather dull/boring and the seeds stalks are sparse and sloppy. I got rid of them but it does make a nice thick clump needing no watering. It grows faster than the wrightii and if I had room, I'd keep them for that.

I am still waiting for the Ricegrass to make a statement. Two years into mine from seed. Its kind of slow going and so far I am underwhelmed. It needs cold stratification and I do think eventually it will look good masses. The grass itself is not overly ornamental. It will all be up to the seed heads.

I got rid of all the Indian Grass. It was too "green" and coarse, I just really didn't get bowled over by it. The Bluestem is OK but my soil must be too sandy or something and they have a tendency to flop when blooming. The drier the better on the way this one behaves I think. They look better growing in the wild especially in rock outcroppings than on my property but I do like that color in late fall, its a sort of brownish red. The better choice for me was Sideoats grama which is a knockout in form and bloom. The other one I love is Blue grama. This grass is cute and well behaved. It makes neat tufts and blooms all summer making good light effects. It will definitely take your conditions and I highly recommend it.

I don't much like the Ravenne Grass. With the huge muhly grasses, its not necessary and it looks un-natural to to me growing with them. It seems more "Florida" somehow. It is very drought hardy and they are using it along highways here. It would be a bear to cut back in spring, another thing to consider. The Muhlys don't actually need that but you can if you want a totally green plant.

I understand Sporobolis (prairie dropseed) takes a very long time to mature and needs cold stratification. This is one I don't have but I would buy plants if it was me. It would be worth the extra to just get some from Santa Rosa Gardens and avoid the hassle.

The M. capallaris is so readily available here at Home Depot so I just bought one. It died but I had lots of seedlings so I have about 9 of them now. Its well behaved and does well in drought. You know about the fall blooms. This grass would do well for you and it is a nice low darker green medium clump. A similar Muhly is M. riverchonnii. I bought three from High Country Gardens and it might be more cold hardy. It bloom pink but quite a bit earlier. Its an Oklahoma native. Seedlings are very scarce though.

I wouldn't be without the Mexican Feather Grass. I just pull what I don't want. It is just too too pretty and useful.

I have mine all intermixed with native SW plants and cactus. I am posting various pictures showing my xeric use of grass/native/cactus mix, I will have to do these in separate posts, sorry, I'm not hooked up to a photo site.

I think I might like trading seeds/plants with you, maybe. I am VERY interested in SW natives growing in the wild, like that silver nightshade you mentioned. I don't trade much unless someone can trade plants not available commercially but I might be able to help you with some grass seed and I have volunteer grasses I have no space for.

Here below are a M. capallaris, M. rigens, Chamisa 'Rabbit Bush' in the middle is a clump of blue grama and that brownish one in the distance by the big cactus is a Little Bluestem 'The Blues'. You can see the size difference between the two varieties of muhly grasses.

This post was edited by GreatPlains1 on Tue, Sep 24, 13 at 17:21


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

In the foreground is blue grama and by the cactus is Little Bluestem. They look very nice with plants like Desert Spoon. That is a still small one I grew from seed in the picture. The grasses mix great with cactus and desert plants. This was shot in late August 2013.


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

Apache Plume by cactus with pears, to the right and a bit behind it is the Pine Muhly. I like this a bit better than the M. rigens due to my size restraints. they are otherwise very similar. Behind the Pine Muhly is a Lindheimeri, but its hard to see. The Apache Plume is GREAT with these SW grasses. A match that is hard to beat.


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

The spacing looks more crowded in the picture than it is, but here again is a different angle of the Pine Muhly with Lindheimeri behind it and then next is three clumps of Panicum 'Northwind'. I recommend this grass too, its deep olive green with golden seed heads that is extremely vertical. It needs more water however and is more of a prairie grass. I'm not sure how it would do in desert conditions.


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

Blue Grama, its one of the most useful and I think my favorite grass for mixed plantings with any SW natives. Its decorative all season and not invasive like the Mexican Feather Grass. I love the "tuftiness" of it and how well behaved it is. It seeds only moderately.


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

Sideoats grama in front of M. rigens. These look good growing together, same basic form and both produce stiff spikes but with very different seed textures. They both bloom all summer, starting early. Plants are not as close as they look in this picture, I like leaving space to move around in. The sideoats only seeds moderately and the M. rigens has very few volunteers.

To answer your question about transplanting, yes they transplant very easily when small. I move grasses all the time usually in spring but at other times too. Big ones don't do as well from my experience and seem to take a long time to recover their roots and they die back almost immediately.

About deer and rabbits I don't have any but I would think the prairie types used for grazing would be a bigger problem. My problem is neighborhood cats. They love to use them as "toilets" so I put small sections of cholla cactus in the middles of the ones they like to use. It solves the problem and you might try that. Otherwise they smash them down and its not pretty seeing the smelly mess they leave. The deer are especially bad during droughts from what I have read and will eat just about anything if desperate.

This post was edited by GreatPlains1 on Tue, Sep 24, 13 at 17:01


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

Muhlenbergia riverchonii in early September or late August. About 3' by 3'.
Behind it is Purple Three Awn that has aged from pink to white, another that would do very well in your situation. Purple Three Awn seeds about a lot, establishes well in the first season and will take very dry desert conditions. The leaves are very fine and its a recommended substitute for the more invasive Mexican Feather Grass in California.

I have found by experience that those listed climate zones must be just approximate, many plants end up being root hardy or just plain hardy and I grow lots of plants that do just fine that are listed at zone 8. I have more trouble with heat issues, lots of plants just cannot take our intense summer heat and drought. I would never let a zone listing stop me from trying a plant.

This post was edited by GreatPlains1 on Tue, Sep 24, 13 at 18:25


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

GreatPlains - wonderful pictures! Thank you for posting. Can you tell me how much rainfall you get, and if you have to add water? We have days in the high 90's to 100F, combined with high solar radiation thanks to the 6000 ft altitude, as well as low rainfall. All that means a really harsh climate.

We have sideoats, blue grama and little bluestem growing all over thanks to the recent rains. Most of it is about 10-15" tall. I think to get these to grow as tall as your grama, we would have to water. None of these flop, in fact almost no plants flop in these lean dry conditions.

I've seen erianthus ravennae, muhly regal mist, Mexican feather and some kind of miscanthus around my workplace where they water regularly so they are their advertised height. They are quite stunning. The ravennae is at least 8', striking and straight even in our wild thunderstorms and high winds. The miscanthus has been beaten to the ground by heavy rain, but within a day or so it's tall again.

I love your muhly riverchonii and purple three awn, so graceful and airy. I will look for these, either as plants or seed. I've ruled out panicum, all sedges and most miscanthus which all seem to need more water than the ones I mentioned. Pity, as they are beautiful.

I visited Plants of the Southwest several times recently. They were having a sale on their small plants so I picked up several for $1.50 - $2. Who could resist those prices? So I have sorghastrum nutans, nassella, muhly rigens, big bluestem. I also got several native wildflowers - desert four o'clocks, hummingbird trumpet, linum. They are a bit tired after sitting around all summer. I'm also stocked up on seeds of SW natives - feather dalea, NM privet, golden currant, agastaches, as well as grasses. Apache plume grows wild everywhere here. I think ours would look a bit better if we pruned it back a little so it wasn't so shaggy and sparse.

You aren't serious about planting silverleaf nightshade?! It's supposed to be noxious, invasive and poisonous. It's described as "impossible to eradicate" without a lot of work.

We don't have cats strolling about. The coyotes or hawks would make a quick meals of them. Even dogs won't walk through the open space, not with the cactus needles everywhere. Last year when we got under 5" of rain, the rabbits and deer were eating anything green.

Your pictures are what I aspire to.

Cheryl


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

Our rain is unpredictable. Technically we are listed at 30" per year but........ That depends. We have been in that same drought you are probably in for the last several years but sometimes we get a lot so its hard to plan what to grow, its crazy making. This spring was real wet and I had some plants suffer. I'm on a slope with good drainage so that helps. The last few summers had straight endless weeks of daily 100+ temps with no rain almost all summer. We also have high humidity during periods in summer, it depends on what the weather decides to do to us, we are at its mercy in so many ways.

I don't do hardly any watering here. Its survival of the fittest but I will relent when weeks have gone by on certain plants or if I am establishing something new.

All the kinds of Miscanthus need supplemental water in summer here. The ones around here died in the last few years unless they were irrigated and many of them looked like crap from the heat. The Pennisetum grasses need a lot of watering or else they look bad. I avoid both of these thirsty grasses.

Since we have been so dry in the last several years, it should give a good idea of what will do OK for you there on such little rain, but 5" is extreme, ouch! The muhlys all look great without any supplemental water, including the regal mist. I read that M. rigens thrives on drought. I believe it, mine grew fast in that dry heat and was as healthy looking as you could ask for, same for the Pine Muhly. The M. lindhemeiri gets much bigger with more water but did fine during the drought. These really vary in size a lot depending on conditions. I had one growing by the air conditioner drain and it was a monster in size while the ones growing dry were much smaller. In Texas where the drought was much worse, some of the muhly's went dormant and looked awful in 2012 but I think they came back OK from what I read on the Texas Forum. They seem to be programmed to withstand the drought.

I know you would do very well with the Sacaton wrightii. I bought 4 of those improved huge sized ones for a 'hedge" that they sell at High Country Gardens and didn't like it. It grows very very fast but the leaves are sort of wide and it wasn't to my liking like the unimproved ones I grew from seeds and replaced it with. I also bought that Muhly lindheimerii/capillaris hybrid one called 'Flamingo'. Its gorgeous.

As an isolated specimen that improved Sacaton might do well for you if you want a TRUE MONSTER Grass.

The Ravenne grass seems to be made of cast iron. These cook along the highways and look fine, no watering. They are common along with Crepe Myrtle and Chaste Trees which all seem to be indestructible here. The grass stands real straight and very tall. We are so windy here, most of the trees trunks lean toward the north, but not the grass. I always consider the highway test as 100% reliable on drought hardiness. All of the native grasses you mentioned are also used a lot in that way. The Mexican Feather Grass is often planted with pink blooming hesperaloe and thats a nice drought hardy combination. The Switch Grasses are used too in mass plantings along the roads and seem to do fine with little water here. I think they will do well either wet or dry.

I'm so jealous you got to go to Plants of the Southwest. I would love to visit the nursery sometime. I have two desert Four O'Clocks I started from seed I got from them last fall. I have tried the Feather Dalea seeds without luck four years now. I can get them to germinate but then they die. I have good luck with various penstemon, Russian Sage, Lantana, Blackfoot Daisy, Desert Marigolds, Salvia Greggii and Flame Acanthus but not Agastache. I see other people growing it but mine always die. I don't know why.

I have lots (too many) of kinds of cactus and cold hardy agave but the cats don't seem to mind them.

The Apache Plume gets real thick if you prune it back hard in spring. Its very ornamental, at least to me, but I have weird taste or at least I seem to be in a tiny minority when it comes to plant tastes. Other ones I have that I love are Mormon Tea and Winterfat, you probably have that growing wild there too. I like the looks of the silver nightshade a lot, maybe I should investigate it a bit more. I don't want invasives.


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

I just thought of another that might work real good there. My sister planted her inferno strip with several starts of Lyme Grass, (Leymus) that real pretty light blue spiky grass that is supposed to grow anywhere in anything. Its made a huge nice thick big solid drift, it spreads by underground runners and can be invasive in good soil. Its used to control erosion on beaches. Along side of this she has Silver King Artemisia. Its gorgeous together and she never waters it. I planted Silver King along my west side in the horrid hard clay "dIrt" that is so dry and impossible due to tree roots. It looks good all year in the driest most hostile conditions imaginable.

She bought it on sale at Santa Rosa Gardens online, I think the Fall Sale is still going on.


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

Greatplains - I'm jealous of your 30" of rain. Your cactus are so much greener than ours. Plants of the SW has beautiful display beds where they grow many of the plants and seeds they sell. Their plants are a bit over my budget so I'm going to try growing lots from seed. If I fail, I can add an occasional grass or shrub over time and hope to get reseeding.

I think they have a sacaton specimen. It's truly amazing, a dense green fountain about 10' high and 6-8' across. You could lose small children in it. I have leymus seeds. It was described as a tough, drought-tolerant grass. I have seeds of several of the same plants you have - winterfat, blackfoot daisy, desert marigolds. I'm sorry agastache doesn't do well for you. They're everywhere here so I have bought many on sale at places like Home Depot. They have been in flower for months, and are always surrounded by bees and hummingbirds.

Some of the grasses you don't like may be OK in a big open space where their coarseness won't be noticed. That's what I hope for the ravennae and big bluestem. Our dead trees were taken down a few days ago, 11 of them, so our open space is very empty.

Thank you for your advice. Wish me luck with my seeds.

Cheryl


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

Jadiete, I have grown on rainwater , and no irrigation for years and droughts are are a tough one. I had 5 inches of rain in a 12 month period in Central Texas and we are not a desert. Plants aren't used to that kind of abuse. All my bluestem turned to ash and blew away. My Bamboo muhly was pretty tough but it dwindled to the ground. Trees died, fires burned. and then the drought broke, ..well kind of. After two years, it rained sporadically during the winter at all the right ponts. EVERYTHING germinated. Every seed that I had dropped on my property for 10 years germinated. and all the invassives too. The grasses came back but so did the starr thistle and B@stard mustard, The Bamboo muhly is to die for right now. We are having a wet year. It took a couple of years for my land to get back some of its diversity after the drought. Some things are still struggling. Last winter was really dry again but then it started to rain a little. Now it is raining a lot. One gets used to the cycles and all that grey brittleness makes one relish the rebirth. It will happen. Treasure it as long as it last. Drought will return and then go again. I think that is the nature of gardening in this manner.

All, I can say is get seed and plant and baby some and drop the rest all over your land. Most won't come up when you want it to, and then it will when you least expect it. Read up on how to establish wild flowers and grasses. Greatplains1 has great suggestions. I find Stipa comata (also available from Plants of the southwest in seed) a very interesting grass.I like curly mesquite grass as a low counterpoint to the tall grasses.

I do not know how busy you are, but now is a great time to collect grass seed in New Mexico. I did several years back on a vacation to just north of Cerillos. I drove and collected all over and it was a gloriously easy way to get the seed that I wanted.

One can look for the reddest folliage on the bluestem grasses. Or the curliest and thickest eyelashes on the Hairy gramma. I found great grasses everywhere I turned. but the best hairy gramma was in Gallisteo on the dirt road behind the the potter's gallery. "Blonde Ambition" has nothing on it.Very interesting grasses at Gran Quivera Ruins about 30 miles south of Cibola National forest. I was like a child in a candy store. Stop your car and and carry paper bags or envelopes. A camera to document it is a good thing. Just talking about it makes me want to jump in the car and run away.

I just checked, You are having a wet year. 30" to date! that I would call a rebound from the exceptional drought. We just hit 30 " first time in years, since 2007 when we hit 55" otherwise it has been 5" - 15". feast or famine in the semi arid brush.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stipa comata


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

Wantonamara, thanks for the encouragement. I'm going to give it my best shot. We've been planting a lot since many nurseries have had good sales recently, so I have a small selection of grasses and wildflowers scattered about.

Like you, we've had good rains this year. But not 30". I wish. If you were looking at Weather Underground, they give the average pressure as 30". Our rainfall so far this year is about 12" which is a lot better than the 5" last year. Suddenly we have grasses! And flowers! We've been here 2 years and seen nothing but cactus and sage. Now I can see muhly and sideoats and grama. All along the roads there are big patches of grasses waving in the wind in shades of blonde and lavender and deep gold. It's stunning.

I've been snipping some native grasses when I see something I like. Photographing grasses can be frustrating because my camera keeps wanting to focus on something more solid. I'm taking pictures of anything that looks good, whether it's in the wild or in someone's garden. I'm a little concerned that I could be introducing something invasive. We already have plenty of that. I found a website listing noxious weeds, including several of the thistles we have, as well as yellow toadflax. I just discovered that the green spiky stuff sprouting everywhere is tumbleweed. Now I know what I'm doing this weekend.

We plan to irrigate to get the small plants going, and supplement if we have another severe drought. You're tougher than I am. I would have been devastated to watch plantings shrivel away. We have water storage to capture water on the roof, and we plan to use grey water as well. Every little bit helps.

Cheryl


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

Jadiete, I was devestated, because it was out of my experience. But now I saw the land comeback, so I feel bettter about it. I have never stopped gardening before in my life. I walked away from it one day, not knowing if anything would survive. We ran out of water and was trucking in water to our tank to live on. I veg garden also. and next time I will walk away from that a lot sooner. 70 days above 100 on top of no rain was a tough drought. We are not phoenix. Our cedar trees were dying by the acre due to spider mites.. Not mine but friends.

I remember the nervousness that I could not explain when it had rain three times after that drought. I still didn't believe that the drought was over but I was beside myself nervous and a couple days later I realized that I was experiencing a primal urge to plant. I decided to plant a pot, but then I got too many plants and I decided , one bed , but then that became the whole garden later that very green winter.

I think that the act of gardening is all about faith. Faith that the seed will grow and the rains will fall one day, That year gardening took on that spiritual edge in a biblical way. I was waiting for the locust plague. I look out my door now and things are pretty pastoral.

Get a good book on range grasses and wildflowers. You will always be looking in it. It will strengthen your connection with what is out your door.

I guess I misread the weather thing... I do that a lot.
Mara


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

Mara,

The drought was a nightmare. We drove to NM from MA in August 2011, passing through Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The temperature passed 100 somewhere in Kansas, rose to 110 in Oklahoma and only fell below 100 when we crossed the NM border and climbed the mountains. Along the way we saw scrawny cows trying to get under shriveled trees in fields of brown dust. The heat was like a solid wall every time we got out of the car.

You're right. Gardeners are ever hopeful that next season will be better. Right now I wonder if the weeds will have the last laugh. I filled 3 huge bags with tumbleweeds with a lot more still out there, but so far my small starter plants are holding their own. I hope next year the bluegrasses and sacatons and lovegrasses will start to fill the spaces I cleared.

Cheryl


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RE: newbie questions about OG cultivation

I wonder if the heat and dryness of the drought toast the outer layer of the seeds and make the seeds more receptive to the water when it finally rains after the drought. You are describing what we experienced. It was a very abnormally abundant spring. We had everything come up. Like you. We had a rough time with invasives. Good luck with the tumble weed.

I find every spring different. The types of spring flowers are dependent on when the rain falls in the fall winter and spring. Different flowers germinate at different temperatures so in lands where rain happens not all the time, your springs will represent one combination of flowers one year and another combination another year. Years develop different characteristics.

So are you new to NM and you came from the gentle lands of the New England? You will need new eyes and new ways of looking at land. I remember driving through northern California during a trip while I was living in Hawaii. The fields of grass were all golden yellow and I thought it looked dead. Now brown does not look dead to me. I see it as a sun tan. I know that the first rain will green it up in three days. Black and grey ash like looks dead to me and even that will green up , It just takes longer.


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